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Star Wars: Five Actors Who Were Almost Part of the Galaxy Far, Far Away

4 Minute Read
Jan 10 2023
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Turns out, a ton of household names and famous actors almost portrayed some of our favorite Star Wars characters.

Nicolas Cage has mentioned a lack of interest in being part of a future Star Wars project. I guess he’s more of a Trekkie than a Warsie, and if he had his choice between the two space-age universes, the Enterprise would be more his speed.

The personal preference is something we can’t fault him for, both properties have their merits and probably wouldn’t have existed to the degree we know and love today without the other. Plus, I’m not even sure if Cage was offered a role to turn down or if this was more hypothetical. But he’s not the first actor to give the galaxy far far away a big, “no thanks.” These five actors turned down their own Star Wars opportunities.

Kurt Russell as Luke Skywalker

Back in the 70s, Kurt Russell was one of the most sought-after leading men. So it’s no surprise that he was considered for Luke Skywalker. And for a moment, it looked like he would be the famous future Jedi (or Han Solo, he was up for both parts – looks like lots of people were considered for Han.) That is, until he dropped out of the project entirely in order to join a new Western ABC was producing. Which was, in turn, canceled after one season.

 

Benicio Del Toro as Darth Maul

It’s hard to imagine anybody but Ray Park under the Darth Maul makeup, but the role almost went to Benicio Del Toro. He got far enough into the role to have had a few runs with the costume and makeup, but then Lucas cut the majority of Maul’s lines and Del Toro felt it wasn’t worthwhile for his career anymore and dropped out.

This move made room for martial artist, Ray Park, who made the character very memorable with very few lines. Ironically, years later Maul would have a ton of spoken lines in the animated The Clone Wars show…. voiced by another actor, Sam Witwer. Del Toro did later join the Star Wars family as DJ in The Last Jedi.

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Jim Henson as Yoda

Jim Henson is probably the name you think of when you think of Muppets and top-tier puppetry. And he very nearly added another green Muppet to his repertoire with Yoda. Originally, Lucas wanted Henson to take the role of the sage old Jedi master, but as they worked together, it became clear that he wasn’t actually the right guy for the job. Henson recommended Frank Oz instead, and the iconic Yoda we know came to life.

 

Leonardo DiCaprio as Anakin Skywalker

Let’s be honest, of course he was. Fresh off of his Titanic success, DiCaprio had very quickly become a huge name and the crush of every dude-crushing person in the late 1990s. So it’s no surprise at all to learn that he was on the short list of actors considered to play Anakin Skywalker.

He turned the role down after a meeting with Lucas saying that he “just didn’t feel ready to take that dive.” I’m not entirely sure what that means considering it wasn’t like he could become a huger name. But it was probably for the best; despite the movie’s many issues, I can’t imagine anybody aside from Hayden waxing poetic about sand.

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Sylvester Stallone as Han Solo

Some of the names on this list I get. I can see those people in the role even if it feels wrong, like it did happen, but only in Bizarro World. Sylvester Stallone as Han Solo is one that I can’t even picture. At the time, he was known as the ultimate tough guy, and that was the image they were aiming for with Han. And while many of these actors turned down roles, Stallone himself admits that he bombed the audition and probably wasn’t the right tough guy for the role.

 

Who is your favorite actor who was almost in Star Wars? Did they turn the role down or was somebody else picked over them at the last moment? Do you think any of these actors would have been better picks than those who made it to the big screen? Let us know in the comments!

May The Force Be With You, Adventurers!

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